31 OCTOBER 1947, Page 16

Sta,—Mr. Peter Ratazzi, in his letter published in The Spectator

of October 17th, under the title, Whale-hunting Folly, refers to "the inex- haustible food reserves of the high seas." Are these food reserves in- exhaustible? One of the gravest problems facing the trawler fishing industry, especially that section of it engaged in fishing the home water grounds, is the over-fishing problem and the necessity for immediate action to conserve these grounds. It is considered that the prosperity of the industry as a whole rests on the productivity of these grounds, for they supply variety and quality. The short-term policy of sweeping these grounds of fish to meet a present food shortage is bound to have a serious effect not only on the fishing industry of the U.K., but also on those other European countries engaged in fishing the grounds referred to. It must be noted that early in 1946 an international conference held in London considered the problem 'of over-fishing. The following figures are of interest : the weight of hake landed in England and Wales during the months April, May and June, 1946, was 124,373, 124,788 and 124,251 cwts. respectively, and for the corresponding months in 1947, 50,631, 81,773 and 93,909 cwts.—I am, Sir, yours, THOUGHTFUL.